How to Tell Your Employer That You Need FMLA
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), passed in 1993, give employees an opportunity to take time off from work to care for personal and family medical needs. FMLA is designed to give employees unpaid time off without jeopardizing their jobs.
The act provides up to 12 weeks per year of unpaid leave. Employees may opt to use vacation, sick days or other accumulated paid time off to receive compensation for all or part of this period. Broaching your need for leave with your employer can be tricky.
4 Steps to Tell Your Employer That You Need FMLA
1. Advise your employer as soon as you can that a situation exists that may require you to use FMLA leave.
Having a productive conversation with the boss ahead of time will prepare the employer for your potential extended or frequent absences. Do this even if you are uncertain about whether it will be necessary.
2. Collect the facts and forms provided by your employer that relate to the company’s implementation of FMLA.
This will include information concerning the type of documentation that is needed to verify that you qualify for FMLA. The federal guidelines for the program are available online. If you work for a very small company, you may not be eligible to receive FMLA leave. Companies must have at least 50 employees to meet the federal mandate for providing FMLA.
3. Accumulate as much documentation as possible before making the formal request for FMLA leave.
Present proof of doctor visits, prescriptions and other pertinent material. This will help the company to determine the validity of your request. Unless your employer requires additional medical opinions, you may already have everything necessary to complete the application process.
4. Approach your supervisor calmly to request the leave.
This is vital because many employers are not thrilled to grant this type of time off. You may find it necessary to be firm at the same time to nudge the company into compliance with the law. Try not to ask for excessive amounts of time. Employers are not required to be generous with this benefit in order to comply with the federal guidelines.
Tips and Warnings
- Save money before beginning a leave to prevent financial problems during the leave.
- Using FMLA for fraudulent reasons can result in termination from your job.
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